Bullpen comes up big in 6-1 USM win at UAB

Bullpen comes up big in 6-1 USM win at UAB
The Golden Eagles will conclude spring drills at noon Saturday with the annual Black and Gold Game at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WDAM) - Trent Driver and Mason Strickland came out of the bullpen to hold University of Alabama-Birmingham scoreless over the last six innings and Luke Reynolds and Mason Irby hit home runs as No.13  University of Southern Miss rallied to down the Blazers 6-1 Saturday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.

USM's 11th victory in its last 12 games allowed the Golden Eagles (34-12, 18-4 Conference USA) to secure its 12th consecutive conference baseball series. USM has outscored the Blazers 12-1 over the first two games of the series.

USM starter Stevie Powers exited the game with the bases loaded and no outs after experiencing a tightness in his pitching arm.

Driver (4-0) entered, and after a grounder to shortstop gave UAB a 1-0 lead, he struck out the next to Blazers to get out of the inning.

Driver worked four innings, allowed just three hits while walking none and striking out two. Strickland picked up his second of the season, allowing one hit over the final three innings and striking out one.

After UAB (19-25, 11-12) took the lead, USM immediately answered.

Gabe Montenegro, who had four hits and scored three runs from the top of the Golden Eagles' batting order, opened the top of the fourth inning and came all the way around to tie the game on Matthew Guidry's triple off the wall in right field.

After Reynolds was hit by a pitch, Matt Wallner doubled off the wall in right to score Guidry and give Southern Miss a 2-1 lead.

In the fifth, Montenegro singled with one out, and Reynolds followed an out later with his 12th homer of the year, second of the series and fourth in his last three games to give the Golden Eagles a 4-1 lead.

Irby led off the ninth inning with his first home of the season and just the second of his Southern Miss career for a 5-1 lead. With one out, Montenegro and Guidry singled, putting runners at first and third, and Reynolds' grounder brought home the final run.

UAB starter Ryan Ruggles (1-3), who had been named C-USA's Pitcher of the Week for his effort at Florida Atlantic the previous weekend, allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

USM will be seeking its third C-USA series sweep when the teams meet at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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